How to Recruit For Your Start Up The Right Way!


How to Recruit For Your Start Up The Right Way

A startup is only as good as its team, as all the dreams, visions and missions can be realised only through their skills, sweat and commitment. So, it is imperative for a startup to be able to recruit the right people, as there is very little room for mistakes for a cash-strapped tight ship like a startup.

A lot of times, a startup may not have a separate HR person or be able to afford headhunter fees to look for the right talent. So, mostly it is up to the founder and the core team to do the right thing to recruit the most suitable talent for the startup.

Every founder would ideally like to hire somebody like themselves, with the same passion, drive and the mission to take the startup closer to its goal. But, a lot of thinking and planning needs to be done by the founder in order to attract the right kind of people who would be willing to work in a fledgeling startup.

Working through the following details can give sufficient ammunition to a startup founder to persuade talented and worthy people to join and stick with the organisation.


1. Hire only the ‘right fit’

Hiring a person should not be a knee-jerk reaction to the need of the hour or as an emergency measure to overcome the struggles of growing and running a business up against a lot of odds.

Above all, don’t look for the ‘best person’ for the job. Rather, look for someone who fits in perfectly with your startup culture, values and can deliver consistently under the unique circumstances. In other words, find the ‘right fit’ for the job. That also means looking for someone who is ready to get their hands dirty and multi-task, since resources are scarce and people are expected to be completely hands on and go beyond the call of duty, if and when the need arises.

2. To attract talent, hard-sell your “special” startup

Since startups are yet to make a lasting mark on the business landscape, founders need to hard-sell their unique vision, compelling mission and the passion for creating something new.

Talented and creative candidates are usually attracted to path breaking, life changing and meaningful work with a challenging profile. To start with, founders will have to network with their peers and industry associates to identify potential candidates. Offering and encouraging existing teams to introduce worthy, new talent into the organisation is another sure shot way to get the right people.

Startups need to actively engage on various social media and professional networking online platforms, where talent regularly scours for information and feedback. Founders need to have their own personal branding as well as an active PR team, blogs and broadcasted available opportunities in these networks. These measures can get a startup noticed and appreciated by potential talent.

3. Offer long term goals and benefits to draw candidates

It is difficult for startups to match the fat paychecks that industry leaders offer. So, apart from the attraction of offering the opportunity to work in a challenging and innovative environment, founders need to offer something more lucrative to new talent to convince them to join.

You could define long term goals and link them to attractive incentives such as stocks or define a clear growth path within the company. Moreover, apart from the measurable benefits, you can also offer emotionally appealing benefits such as flexible working hours, option to work remotely etc.

4. Ask the right questions and be ready to answer

Having a detailed questionnaire is important to ensure all the right questions are asked and the candidate is not selected on the basis of ‘gut’ feel alone. The questions should not only give a clear picture of the technical competence of the candidate but also their emotional intelligence, temperament, the ability to fit into a team, leadership qualities and level of motivation.

In return, a start-up should encourage candidates to ask their questions and be reassured about their misgivings. This is the right time to highlight the positives of working in your startup and the future prospects of growth with it.


Putting in place a proper process for screening of candidates will save a lot of time and energy in recruiting new people. Right from being very specific in putting out the job requirement so only those who fit apply, to a perusal of questionnaires with applications before personally meeting the candidate will separate the wheat from the chaff. After all, time and people are always in short supply in a startup.

In a nutshell, the potential candidate should be able to subscribe to the vision built by the Founders. That is critical.

[About the Author: The article has been contributed by Vikram Upadhyaya – Chief Mentor at GHV Accelerator.]

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